Modern healthcare is rife with challenges. Nursing leaders and managers are tasked with the smooth operation and maintain safe nurse to patient ratios. In the healthcare field, nursing leaders and managers face constant fluctuations that force them to alter their thinking and the way in which they work. Nursing leaders and managers are responsible for ensuring staff satisfaction, patient satisfaction, budgetary concerns, and patient safety. Nursing leaders are tasked with more than ever before and are required to do more and be responsible for more with less. Nursing leaders are challenged to work with fewer employees, fewer resources while being held to higher standards. It is no wonder in today’s healthcare climate nursing shortage and staff turnover remain a huge problem that looks to be an issue for years to come.
Today’s healthcare environment, the issues of nurse shortage and nurse turnover has the ability to alter the healthcare delivery system if not dealt with properly by healthcare administrators, leaders, and department managers. In viewing the issue at hand and in discovering how nursing leaders and managers are expected to act, and do act, in order to approach this issues, along with pinpointing the best approach possible to aid this issue, one can better understand which leadership styles are necessary for leaders to function. Dealing with Nurse Shortage and Nurse Turnover with Approach and Theory In viewing the issue at hand, it must be noted that the nurse shortage in the United States is not expected to stop any time soon. While the phrase “nurse shortage” has been mentioned for years in the U.S., with the nurse shortage expected to peak in 2020, the median age of nurses standing at 46 with 50% of them close to retirement, and a vast increase in Americans over the age of 65, healthcare managers and nursing leaders are finding it tougher than ever to administer assistance to the hundreds of thousands of individuals in the country in need of medical assistance (ANA, 2012, pp.1).
Such a shortage and the high rate of turnover that exists in this country has the ability to drastically reduce the standard of care in the country, as there are more and more patients that need to be treated by a dwindling workforce. However, while this is a possibility, nursing leaders and management exist to ensure that this type of drop in standards does not occur, as such a lapse cannot occur without the country’s healthcare system falling even further into the challenge. Alternately, it is the task of leaders and management to deal with this problem by instituting new approaches to ensure that the standard of care within the country does not drop and nurses are utilized to the best standards without overworking them in an effort to increase care standards and employment standards simultaneously.
While leadership and management are often viewed as synonymous in the eyes of many individuals, the truth remains that the two are indeed different and bring with them different sets of qualities and responsibilities. Leadership is a process whereby individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal while management takes on a more distinct set of responsibilities in that managers are generally much more task-oriented rather than goal oriented (Ricketts, 2009, pp.3).
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